Wireless Video Surveillance Ramps Up Security On Presidential Campaign Trail

Amid week-long political conventions and massive campaign rallies, wireless video surveillance has emerged as an indispensable tool for law enforcement and public safety agencies throughout the country.

Orlando Police Department, Denver Police Department and St. Paul Police Department, among others, used wireless mesh technology from Firetide and integrated surveillance systems from Avrio Group to meet complex challenges of ensuring security and preventing incidents when election passions run high.

In battleground Florida, campaign events took place almost daily. On Monday, Oct. 21, the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton rally in Orlando drew a record crowd of 60,000 people.

“Wireless surveillance provides an extra set of eyes, greatly improving situational awareness and officer safety,” said Agent Blye with Electronic Surveillance Support Team at Orlando Police Department. “We can respond to incidents captured on camera within seconds from the on-site mobile command center. Both the installation and the event itself went without a hitch, but if anything should have happened we would also have had courtroom-quality video for incident review and to back up any arrests.”

Wireless systems can be positioned almost anywhere to obtain the best point of view -- no need to drill holes, pull cable or trench ground. For temporary installations, cabled systems are not even an option, and time is critical -- Firetide networks can be set up quickly, depending on the size of the network.

The cameras can also be repositioned as conditions change. On a wireless mesh network, unlike with a point-to-multipoint system, any mesh node can act as a “head end” -- allowing multiple command centers to be set up, at any point on the network. Integrated systems, such as Avrio PoleCams, which contain a wireless mesh node and a high-end pan-tilt-zoom camera in an easy-to-deploy enclosure, further simplify setup. PoleCams can also be powered from a generator, eliminating the need to provide power to each camera/wireless node location.

“What sets wireless mesh apart is the ease of deployment,” Blye said. “For example, we can set up a wireless surveillance network of eight cameras within 12 hours. In addition to deploying the police department’s network, we can use mesh nodes to tie into any existing surveillance system -- such as at a stadium, school or bank -- and bring video feeds back to our command center. This is an extremely robust system that works for our needs at various events, from hostage situations to county fairs and political rallies.”

“These portable systems work great for special events, but we’ve designed our PoleCams to be durable enough to be deployed in permanent installation – in high-traffic, sensitive or high-crime areas,” said Mark Jules, vice president of business development at Avrio Group. “This is the route that St. Paul and Denver police departments have already taken, keeping the systems that they acquired for Republican and Democratic National Conventions, respectively.”

In addition to streaming video to the mobile command center, the solution allows for video to be viewed from mobile devices and also allows for integration with other security systems like access control, sensors including gunshot detection, voice and data communications.

When situation requires cooperation of multiple local, state and federal agencies, such as during the political conventions due to their designation as National Special Security Events, video can be sent in multicast mode to multiple destinations for simultaneous viewing and recording -- to police headquarters, field command centers and joint operations centers. Multicasting is essential for remote monitoring by multiple decision makers, but can severely burden a wireless network. Firetide’s encapsulation techniques enable multicasting of video streams across wireless networks -- minimally impacting bandwidth.

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